Handbook on Facilities

Part 2: People and Process

Identifying the right people to be involved, and nurturing and orchestrating their involvement is the critical step in the planning process. The PKAL guiding principle is that there must be a project shepherd, one charged with keeping the project on task, having ultimate responsibility to ensure that the spaces work as intented and that they truly improve learning for the natural science community on your campus. Communication is key to a successful project; all involved should be open to sharing new ideas, willing to debate and negotiate, and to learn a common language about program and space. The role of presidents, deans, and even trustees must be determined, particularly in the process of selecting and working with professionals in design and construction.

The work of the planning groups proceeds through the initial discussions of mission and vision toward and exploration of the future: the curriculum (what is to be learned/taught); the pedagogies (how it is to be learned/taught); the technologies (the tools of learning and teaching); and, most important, who will be the learners. Those assessments of the future are the foundation for making decisions about spaces that shape further dialogue with architects and labs designers, considering issues such as the level of sustainability, the extent of technologies, the attention to a research-rich, interdisciplinary learning environment, the scope of the project (renovation, addition, and/or new construction) is determined.